Fredericton, April 1, 2009 – New Brunswick Official Languages Commissioner Michel Carrier today called upon the senior provincial civil service to exercise strong, sustained leadership with regard to language of work to ensure that all provincial government employees are able to work in the language of their choice. Commissioner Carrier made this statement on the day on which the provincial government’s revised language of work policy comes into force.
“Forty years after the adoption of the first official languages legislation in New Brunswick, it seems clear that the situation in terms of language of work does not correspond to the status of equality of both our official languages in New Brunswick,” the Commissioner said. “The revised policy seeks to correct that situation. However, for that to happen, the senior civil service has to exercise real leadership aimed at creating a work environment that is respectful of French and English.”
According to the government document, the Language of Work Policy is intended to assist and guide provincial departments, institutions and agencies in providing a work environment that encourages and enables employees to work and pursue a career in their official language of choice.
“For employees to choose to work in the language of their choice, they must clearly feel that they are being encouraged to do so. Otherwise, they will not dare or will be very hesitant to make that choice. The responsibility for creating that favourable environment falls first and foremost to the organization’s leaders,” the Commissioner said.
After having recommended on a number of occasions that the language of work policy be improved, the Commissioner received, in September 2008, a copy of the revised policy. He then proceeded to analyze the document and submitted several comments and recommendations to the government with a view to enhancing its effectiveness.
“Even though the revised policy does not reflect all of our comments and recommendations, I am pleased that the provincial government accepted that each employee be able to be supervised in the language of his or her choice,” Carrier said.
The language work policy recognizes the government’s obligation to offer and provide services in the public’s official language of choice.
According to the Commissioner, successful implementation of the policy will pave the way for incorporating language of work into the Official Languages Act. “The provincial government has to undertake a review of the OLA by December 31, 2012. That is the ideal time to include the right to work in one’s language in the OLA. I believe that right is fundamental given the status of equality of the two linguistic communities in New Brunswick, a status that is enshrined in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms,” Commissioner Carrier said.
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